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In the news

Key factors that make a difference in successful leadership

Fast Company

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Jamie Dimon, Satya Nadella, Reed Hastings, and 64 of the world’s biggest CEOs all fall into 6 distinct mindsets. A new book by McKinsey execs breaks it all down


6 Mindsets That Separate the Best CEOs from the Rest, Backed by Research


About 40% of new CEOs fail within 18 months. Here’s what separates the best from the rest


Praise for CEO Excellence

“A satisfying handbook for future moguls.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“This work will help leaders everywhere—not just CEOs—be more effective.”

—Fast Company

“Show(s) how the best CEOs think and adapt in surprisingly similar ways across industries”


“Goes behind the corporate curtain… a master class in leadership”

—Business Insider

“(A) rare leadership book that takes an analytical look”


“Effective and inspirational”


“Full of highlights…one of those great books that will be read for a long time”


“Remarkable…Any smart CEO looking to not just survive but thrive would do well to read and heed this book’s insights.”

—David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group

“A book for those who want to sharpen their skills in leading organizations to higher levels.”

—Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP

“Valuable…provides leaders at all career stages insight on how to complement and enhance their respective styles.”

—Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Founder and President of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute

“Plunges into the minds of the world's finest CEOs, reaches deep into their psyches, [and] retrieves the rarest pearls of wisdom.”

—Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries

“Illuminating and even inspiring…strategies I’m excited to teach in my leadership courses at Harvard.”

—Frances Frei, coauthor of Unleashed

“A must-read for everyone who is (or wants to be) a CEO…Very informative and highly enjoyable.”

—Jason Flom, former Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records, Virgin Records, and Capitol Music Group

“CEO Excellence pulls back the curtain on how some of the world’s greatest business leaders have achieved success. Readers from the classroom to the boardroom will find valuable lessons they can apply to their own careers.”

—Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and cofounder of Blackstone

“A how-to guide for aspiring leaders, CEO Excellence provides real-world, practical examples of how real leaders lead through times of crisis and calm. A must-read for anyone that aspires to lead corporations large and small.”

—Blair Mannix, Director of MBA Admissions, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Author Talks: What separates the best CEOs from the rest?

Three McKinsey senior partners looked across more than 20 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs from 3,500 public companies across 70 countries and 24 industries to identify the mindsets that helped top chief executives deliver extraordinary impact.

CEO Excellence: About the Authors

CEO Excellence: Favorite Interviews

The Authors

Carolyn Dewar

Carolyn is a senior partner in McKinsey’s San Francisco office. She coleads McKinsey’s CEO Excellence service line, advising many Fortune 100 CEOs how to maximize their effectiveness and lead their organizations through pivotal moments. She serves on the faculty of McKinsey’s client master classes for sitting CEOs and those preparing for the role. Carolyn was born and raised in Canada and studied economics and international relations at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Outside of work, Carolyn enjoys the California sunshine, cooking from the bounty of farmers markets, and reliving her love of art with her young children, Gray and Evening, and her husband, Thomas.

Scott Keller

Scott is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Southern California office. He coleads the firm’s global CEO Excellence service line. Scott spent his early consulting years working on business strategy and operational topics until his life was turned upside down when his second child was born with profound special needs. After taking time off to attend to his family, Scott returned to McKinsey with the desire to bring the best of psychology, social science, and the field of human potential into the workplace. Scott is a cofounder of Digital Divide Data and one of a few hundred people in history known to have traveled to every country in the world. His favorite place is Seal Beach, California, where he lives with his wife, Fiona, and his three boys, Lachlan, Jackson, and Camden.

Vikram Malhotra

Vikram (Vik) Malhotra is a senior partner in McKinsey’s New York office. His consulting experience has covered a broad range of work on performance transformation, corporate strategy, business-unit strategy, growth strategy, organizational effectiveness, and operational improvement. Much of Vik’s current focus is on counseling CEOs and boards. Vik is also active with major nonprofits outside of McKinsey. He currently serves as the chairman of the board at the Wharton Graduate School (University of Pennsylvania) and is a trustee of The New York City Partnership, trustee emeritus of the Asia Society, and a former trustee of The Conference Board. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics from the London School of Economics in 1980 and has an MBA from Wharton.



Leadership lessons from the world’s best CEOs

– The authors of the new book CEO Excellence, who interviewed dozens of the top-performing chief executives, share their... most memorable encounters and stories.

In conversation: The CEO moment

– Corporate leaders are changing how they do their jobs in ways that may permanently transform the CEO role.

What sets the world’s best CEOs apart

– Are you a great CEO, or just a good one? New research shows that the leaders who truly excel have a set of distinctive mindsets... and practices.

How new CEOs can manage for the future

– The subtle art of delivering short-term wins while setting the stage for long-term success

Order Now

CEO Excellence

The six mindsets that distinguish the best leaders from the rest.
By Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra
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